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R.I.P. Mister Cee: Veteran Hip-Hop DJ and Radio Personality Who Executive Produced the Notorious B.I.G.'s 'Ready to Die,' Dead at 57

Mister Cee came to fame as a DJ for Big Daddy Kane, and was later a fixture on New York hip-hop station Hot 97.

mister cee
Source: MEGA

Mister Cee was a foundational DJ and tastemaker in New York hip-hop.

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Mister Cee, a longtime New York hip-hop DJ and radio personality best known for DJing with Big Daddy Kane and executive producing the Notorious B.I.G.'s Ready to Die, has died at age 57, according to a report from radio station Hot 97's Peter Rosenberg. The station later confirmed the DJ's death with his family. A cause of death has yet to be announced.

"We have lost the iconic Mister Cee," Rosenberg posted to X/Twitter on April 10. "I listened to him yesterday and am in complete shock. He was a dear friend to all of us, a wonderful man, and one of the most important and impactful DJs of all time. I love you Cee."

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Upon word of Mister Cee's death, responses and condolences came quickly from across the hip-hop community. MC Lyte, DJ Premier and DJ Jazzy Jeff all posted tributes, while Hot 97, the station where he spent much of his career, released a statement saying: "He wasn’t just a DJ; he was a pillar of our stations, bringing joy to countless listeners with his legendary Throwback at Noon and Friday Night Live sets. Mr. Cee’s influence stretched far beyond the airwaves, shaping the very fabric of NYC’s DJ culture."

Born Calvin LeBrun in Brooklyn, Mister Cee first came to prominence as a member of the Juice Crew, DJing for late-'80s rap superstar Big Daddy Kane, whom he met in high school. Credited on the first five of Kane's albums, Cee received notable spotlights on 1989's "The House That Cee Built" and 1988's "Mister Cee's Master Plan."

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In the early 1990s, he made one of his most legendary contributions to hip-hop when he essentially discovered Biggie Smalls, producing the early demo and mixtape recordings that would get the Brooklyn MC written up in The Source's influential "Unsigned Hype" column, and eventually lead to his signing with Bad Boy Records. Cee was credited as an associate executive producer on Biggie's 1994 debut, Ready to Die, which would quickly be certified 6x Platinum.

Reminiscing on the early Biggie track "The Wickedest" last year, Cee recalled: "If you listen to the freestyle, at the end of it, you'll hear a fire truck going by. We weren't in a studio. We were at my house. I did it with two turntables, just cutting the record back and forth."

Cee became a fixture on Hot 97, long New York's most influential hip-hop station, hosting its Throwback at Noon show. He was among the first to offer airplay to the likes of Jay-Z and 50 Cent, and later served as one of the in-game DJs for the massive selling 2008 video game Grand Theft Auto IV.

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Cee left Hot 97 in 2014, following several arrests for soliciting transgender prostitutes -- he would go on to host shows for Audacy 94.7 and others. While the revelations about the DJ's personal life attracted a number of homophobic jokes and social media posts, many more came to his defense, including 50 Cent, who said: “I recognize Mister Cee as the guy who offered us Biggie, so he means that much to the culture... I would make him my DJ any day."


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